Sunday, 19 April 2009

The Other Queen - Review

The Other Queen... A story focussing on Elizabeth Tudor and Mary, Queen of Scots, told from the point of view of Mary, Bess of Hardwick, and her husband George Talbot, who were Mary's jailers during the time she was kept in England.

Although I did enjoy the book, it is not as good as previous Tudor novels, such as The Constant Princess. There is a good story to it, but I found each of the characters to be a bit repetitive - Mary constantly goes on about freedom, Bess about money, and how she's a self made woman, rare in that time period, and George about honour.

George Talbot is the Lord High Steward of England, one of the highest posts in the land - but England is not how it used to be. There is suspicion everywhere, and almost anything can get you accused of treason.

He is newly married to Bess of Hardwick, who was a farmers daughter, who has managed to marry wisely, to raise herself through class ranks to marry the Earl of Shrewsbury (George), bringing with her a good fortune and lands, which is very rare for a woman to acquire in that time.

Mary, Queen of Scots, is being held in England against her will, while Elizabeth struggles to try and accuse her of some wrongdoing, or risk losing her throne to the enchanting foreigner. She cannot actually put her to death, as Mary is of royal blood. She assigns her to the care of the Shrewsburys, and leaves them to keep watch over her. George falls in love with her, as do most men who encounter the queen, and Bess is not pleased at this outcome.

This is a good story, and I did enjoy it - just not as much as the previous Tudor books. In a Q&A session from Philippa Gregory's website, which is printed in the book, she states that she is working on a series about the Plantagenets, who ruled before the Tudors. I will definitely be watching out for this!!

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